#1
Hey guys,

This is my first post so please go easy if I'm beating a dead horse! I'm a college student and doing a marketing project on the guitar industry. Our group has identified Gibson and Schecter gutars as the two comparison brands.

I used to play guitar, haven't had time to play since sophomore year of high school, but I myself own a Gibson Les Paul Custom and vaguely remember Shecter guitars. I remember buying a Gibson because it was the brand that was used by the famous classic rock brands like AC/DC and such. Gibson obviously has a huge legacy in the guitar sphere given all the the brands that use the Les Paul shape (which I'm sure is patented by Gibson and licensed accordingly).

Here's my basic question. How do the target markets differ between Schecter and Gibson? Who do the respective companies try to sell guitars to? Is there a strong difference in quality, branding, advertising, and other such variables?

I really appreciate any help, direction or knowledge you guys can offer. As I said please forgive me if I'm beating a dead horse! Feel free to post links to other threads in the forum that has similar information.
#2
Schecter is a lower priced brand than Gibson. Gibson has a heritage and legacy that many want to be part of. Schecter seems aimed more at heavy-metal, while Gibson seems more well rounded.
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#3
^^ Thanks! If my memory serves me right practically every brand is priced lower than Gibson LOL.

I've glanced through Schecter's online catalog and see that they target at heavy-metal, maybe punk rock-ish bands. The first artist they show is Synyster Gates (who used to be one of my favorite guitarists). I figured that was part of their target market.

How do you guys think Gibson differentiates itself in terms of target market and advertising? Do these guitar companies have "pay-for-play" endorsements? I play golf and all the guys on the PGA Tour have contracts with equipment companies to play that brand. Does the same apply in the guitar and music industry?

Thanks for the help!
#4
Quote by rbhan12
^^ Thanks! If my memory serves me right practically every brand is priced lower than Gibson LOL.

I've glanced through Schecter's online catalog and see that they target at heavy-metal, maybe punk rock-ish bands. The first artist they show is Synyster Gates (who used to be one of my favorite guitarists). I figured that was part of their target market.

How do you guys think Gibson differentiates itself in terms of target market and advertising? Do these guitar companies have "pay-for-play" endorsements? I play golf and all the guys on the PGA Tour have contracts with equipment companies to play that brand. Does the same apply in the guitar and music industry?

Thanks for the help!

Yes both Gibson and Schecter pay professionals to play their guitars
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#5
Gibson and Schecter are not directly comparable, for reasons already mentioned. Schecter tend to aim towards young Metal players, while Gibson generally aims at a rather broad range of Blues, Jazz, Rock and Metal players. It's very evident in what they sell, how they market it, and who they endorse.

In terms of quality, whatever anyone is going to tell you probably doesn't matter very much. I don't make arbitrary judgements on what brand is better because every guitar is unique in nature. I'd prefer to judge whether a guitar is good or not based on a specific guitar basis, not on the brand in general. Anyone who will tell you otherwise is going to be very biased, which isn't going to aid your case. So take what anyone says to you with a generous sprinkling of salt.
Quote by rbhan12

How do you guys think Gibson differentiates itself in terms of target market and advertising?

By being the originator of some of the most famous and well-known guitars in all of music. The vast majority of popular brands (including Schecter themselves) tend to re-hash or copy Gibson's designs because they're so popular.
Do these guitar companies have "pay-for-play" endorsements? I play golf and all the guys on the PGA Tour have contracts with equipment companies to play that brand. Does the same apply in the guitar and music industry?

In a lot of cases, yes.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Mar 27, 2014,
#6
This is like trying to compare Aston Martin to Toyota. The only way you could have picked two brands more opposed would be if you choose Grestch and BC Rich.

How do the target markets differ between Schecter and Gibson? Who do the respective companies try to sell guitars to?
Schecter markets towards not just a metal crowd, but very specifically the alternative metal crowd. Goth rock, industrial metal, dark wave and pretty much every other genre where the only acceptable colours are black, black and black. The most mainstream acts they have on their roster are Seether, a post-grunge band, and The Cure, the most goth pop act possible.
Though they make a small number of more expensive instruments and offer a custom build service for endorsers, the vast majority of their products are mass produced in Korea, China and Indonesia, in factories which they share with many other brands.

Schecter and ESP are owned by the same people.

Gibson, on the other hand, don't often bother to appeal to fans of any genre invented after 1975. The rare times they have attempted to make guitars with modern features and styling, their gigantic 'vintage' fanbase hates them for it and won't stop shouting until they discontinue the new guitars. They've recently managed to get automatic tuning accepted, but they still get given a lot of grief whenever they make anything with active pickups, black hardware, thinner necks, etc.
Gibson has their Epiphone and Kramer brands to take care of the beginner and modern markets, so the Gibson brand itself is left for the blues and hard rock crowd.

Is there a strong difference in quality, branding, advertising, and other such variables?
Do you mean 'quality' as in the actual build quality of their products? If so, that simply does not apply to these two companies. Schecter's equivalent is Epiphone and Kramer, not Gibson. To say Gibson makes higher-quality instruments would be pointless. Yes, it's true (on average; there are always exceptions), but it's irrelevant because they're two completely different price brackets for two completely different markets. Somebody who wants a Schecter isn't going to care if a Gibson is objectively better, because that Gibson won't suit them in any way. People who want Gibsons won't care about being able to buy a Schecter for less money because that Schecter's features are irrelevant to them.

How do you guys think Gibson differentiates itself in terms of target market and advertising?
It doesn't need to. That's the difference. Everybody who has picked up an electric guitar knows what Gibson is and what they do. Schecter do huge ad drives, Gibson rarely even bother to update their own website properly.

Do these guitar companies have "pay-for-play" endorsements?
Sort of. Every company operates their endorsement and sponsership deals differently. Very, very few actually pay players to use their instruments. What is more normally the case is that they will offer the player an instrument for free, or at trade cost, just in the hopes that they will use the guitar on stage, like it and stick with them. It is very rare to see someone actually being paid to play one brand over another. Nobody in music is ever locked into these deals, either. You can be a Schecter endorser but also play a Charvel, or you can accept a guitar from Fender and then just not use it.
For example, Paramore are listed as being 'Fender artists' and have many premium, custom-made Fender instruments, but the bass player switched to Gibson basses a couple of years ago and the guitar player uses BilT guitars, which are copies of Fenders. Most of their last album was recorded with a Gibson guitar and the additional live musicians mostly uses Gibson and Hagstrom guitars.


So, in short...

... You've picked two very, very different companies, and it's all rather irrelevant anyway as everybody uses whatever guitar they feel like using at any time and even when people do have deals with a company, it doesn't mean much other than maybe they get given a free guitar for saying they like the brand in an interview.
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#7
Schecter seem to target the modern metal/hard rock oriented guitarists, droptuned players, and 7 string players. Most of the models come standard with EMGs and only a few have a passive option. And those still come with a rockin Duncan JB.

Some bands their top "Sponsored Guitarists" play for: Avenged Sevenfold, Cradle of Filth, Seether, Asking Alexandria.

Gibson's seem to target the classic crowd first and the hard rocker next. Their top end historic range are 1950s high end replicas.

Some bands their top "Sponsored Guitarists" play for: Led Zeppelin, BB King, ZZ Top,

The guitars can obviously be used in many of the same genres just fine. It's just both companies seem to spend most of their time targeting a certain market.
Last edited by cheesefries at Mar 27, 2014,
#8
Gibson targets people who will pay $1000 more than they have to just so it'll say "Gibson" on the headstock.
#9
^^ I think that poster may be ever-so-slightly biased.
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#10
Quote by Not a Les Paul
Gibson targets people who will pay $1000 more than they have to just so it'll say "Gibson" on the headstock.

Quote by Your sig
2012 Schecter Blackjack
2010 Schecter Solo 6
Schecter Omen 6

Dat bias and ignorance.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Mar 28, 2014,
#11
Gibson market to brand snobs when really they're just mass produced guitars that should be £800 less than they are.
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The new solo project, and spiritual philosophy... Album out now !
----------------------------------------------------------
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Debut album 'Silent Destruction' out now
Read the Two Guys Metal review here
#12
Quote by rbhan12
^^ Thanks! If my memory serves me right practically every brand is priced lower than Gibson LOL.

I've glanced through Schecter's online catalog and see that they target at heavy-metal, maybe punk rock-ish bands. The first artist they show is Synyster Gates (who used to be one of my favorite guitarists). I figured that was part of their target market.

How do you guys think Gibson differentiates itself in terms of target market and advertising? Do these guitar companies have "pay-for-play" endorsements? I play golf and all the guys on the PGA Tour have contracts with equipment companies to play that brand. Does the same apply in the guitar and music industry?

Thanks for the help!

There's PRS. Yeah it works pretty similar to what you said, but you don't have to pay just to use it, but if you do get an endorsement I've heard that you'll usually get a discount. It would probably say in the contract.
#13
Quote by The Judist
Gibson market to brand snobs when really they're just mass produced guitars that should be £800 less than they are.
Uh, you do realise that if the latest line of Gibson guitars cost £800 less than they do... they'd cost between -£400 to £50? It's also slightly inaccurate to write them off as "just mass produced" like other brands, when the final assembly, fit and finish of Gibson guitars is still done by hand and each one takes four to six months.

I mean, my god. If you people think Gibson are overpriced, you probably shouldn't look at PRS or Mayones.

And for transparency, I've owned both Gibson and Schecter guitars, and handle many of each every week.
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#14
Thanks for all the help guys. Definitely learned a lot more and see that this is a very helpful community. Part of the reason that we used the two companies Gibson and Schecter is because they both serve a basic need; playing a guitar. In basic function, both are guitars. However what we're interested in determining and analyzing is the difference between some who plays a Gibson and someone who plays a Schecter.

Just to clarify with my analogy of PGA Tour golfers, equipment companies pay the players to use their equipment, not the players pay the company to use their equipment.

Anybody else have insight they could offer? I would very much appreciate it. Perhaps if anybody here knows someone who works at either firm and could put me in touch with them solely to discuss strategy I would greatly appreciate it. Just a student trying to learn something new!

Thanks again and look forward to reading your replies!
#16
One makes guitars for old guys with money, the other makes guitars for kids that don't.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#17
Quote by MrFlibble
It's also slightly inaccurate to write them off as "just mass produced" like other brands, when the final assembly, fit and finish of Gibson guitars is still done by hand and each one takes four to six months.

I mean, my god. If you people think Gibson are overpriced, you probably shouldn't look at PRS or Mayones.


Gibson is as mass produced as any other guitar. Fit and finish of ALL guitars (not just Gibson) is done by hand, and the process is virtually identical when done by any manufacturer. Here in Southern California, you can trundle down to the San Diego area and watch Taylors and Carvins come together. Come a bit north and you can probably visit Suhr. Fender, of course, has assembly plants in SoCal and tiny Trussart is in LA proper. If you visit Korean or Chinese facilities (such as the Epiphone plant in Qindao), you'll see exactly the same processes. The people who build guitars are largely not "luthiers," but folks performing the same specific production-line tasks over and over again. Gibson cranks out 650-800 guitars a day at full chat. There's no more hand-fondling going on at the Gibson plant than anywhere else. And the only reason that a specific guitar might take more than a month or two is to allow the antiquated nitrocellulose finish to adequately set up.

Gibson trades heavily on its history and rock legacy. Their best customer is the Baby Boomer who grew up with a screaming guitar sound track that was shared with virtually every other member of his generation in the US. Their best-selling guitar is the Les Paul, but the Les Paul was discontinued once and nearly discontinued again until re-popularized in the mid-80's by Guns 'N" Roses guitar player Slash. Gibson itself came very close to going belly up around the same time period; it had been challenged by (and had, essentially, lost to) the increasingly higher quality levels of Japanese-built guitars. In the end, Gibson righted itself not by building higher quality guitars, but by latching on to the halo effect of rock stars who used the guitars and by promoting to the Baby Boomer generation. Even folks who buy the cheap Gibsons these days buy largely so that the have the legendary Logo and headstock and look of the guitars they've become familiar with all their lives.

Schecter is a brand manufactured by one of a number of Korean (in particular) and Asian (in general, including Chinese and Indonesian) factories producing both beginner and professional-quality guitars. Schecter is merely a brand name; a company that buys guitars from overseas and resells them under its own name. Schecter itself does not build guitars. It does open them and set them up at a facility in Burbank, from which it ships to stateside stores including Guitar Center.

In terms of marketing -- Gibson realizes that the Boomer generation as an anchor point has a limited and declining time horizon. The issue for Gibson is that it has pushed its price point ever higher while not providing corresponding quality or features. It has literally painted itself into a corner with its "traditional" marketing and materials emphasis. It has no new products to offer; there are no new guitar designs in the pipeline. It has no technology worth emphasizing. It has no traction among new guitar players and no brand loyalty among younger players; no entry level.

The challenges for both Schecter and Gibson are similar in one respect. The dawn of the iPod has fragmented music. No longer does everyone tune in the same radio station or watch MTV. There is no common sound track among young people. Everyone has his own mix. There are no guitar bands among the Top 10 Billboard artists; the category is dominated by one-name girl singers and a very few random hip-hop artists. The much smaller country market is mostly hitched to classic rock-ish music.

Schecter has latched onto "metal" bands as its point of entry, but there's no metal genre; just a bunch of splintered genre groups who rely on heavily distorted sounds and sinister vocals. Metal is an easy first-guitar music for first-guitar players. Schecter's market is just a bit higher than entry level and a bit lower than $1000 for the most part.

Both Schecter and Gibson have entry level guitars, but Schecter's entry level quality is much higher. Gibson has stripped virtually everything off their guitars but the logo and general body shape, and marketing works overtime to convince newbs that a completely stripped-down guitar with no hand work or finishing process is somehow serious rock and roll. The lack of quality finishing is equated with a lack of bling and touted as an advantage. The truth is that the guitars Gibson is hawking on the low end would have been ignored in the bargain bin at CostCo in years gone by, had they sported ANY other logo. Unfortunately, Gibson is NOT gaining traction in the entry level market; the cheapos are mostly going to older players who could never afford the Gibson logo before and who have told themselves that Only A Gibson Would Do.

All guitar companies face a downturn in sales in years to come unless there's some change in the music scene forthcoming. The biggest guitar distributor (Guitar Denter) is in serious financial hurt already. Endorsers of guitars (band members, etc.) are mostly relatively minor acts whose market influence is either tiny or limited to older musicians.

It should be an interesting market going forward.
#18
I heard Gibson makes their guitars out of play-doh.




Pelham Blue, anyone?
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#19
If you think this
http://www.gak.co.uk/en/gibson-2014-les-paul-traditional-heritage-cherry-sunburst/89973
is worth its premium over this
http://www.rockemmusic.com/product/tokai-ls112qz-vf-love-rock-electric-guitar-violin-quilt-top
you must be, as Victoria Beckham's robotoid voice once put it, out of your miiiiiiind
ZEN JUDDHISM
The new solo project, and spiritual philosophy... Album out now !
----------------------------------------------------------
hybrid 6.0
Debut album 'Silent Destruction' out now
Read the Two Guys Metal review here
#20
In Gibson's defence, all the Robot and Firebird X stuff is appreciably progressive in a retro world
ZEN JUDDHISM
The new solo project, and spiritual philosophy... Album out now !
----------------------------------------------------------
hybrid 6.0
Debut album 'Silent Destruction' out now
Read the Two Guys Metal review here
#21
Quote by JustRooster
One makes guitars for cool guys with money, the other makes guitars for kids.


ftfy.
#22
Quote by The Judist
In Gibson's defence, all the Robot and Firebird X stuff is appreciably progressive in a retro world


But all of that stuff is old hat and cheaper elsewhere. The Robot tuners (and the current MinETune) is an outgrowth of the early 90's TransPerformance bridge. It's hung around, but has never gone anywhere (even when Gibson put it in a few LPs and had Jimmy Page parade it around). The Firebird X stuff is an outgrowth of much older guitars (we see them at the collectible shows) that had built in effects back in the 70's and 80's. When the Firebird X arrived there was already a $190 guitar that had nearly every bit of the Firebird X's electronics built in (the lone exception being a Bluetooth-connected pedal). Neither it NOR the Firebird X proved popular.

Gibson hasn't done anything progressive -- they wouldn't really know how. Geez, we've got tiny guitar companies producing 7, 8, 9, 10-string guitars and even fan-fret guitars for under a grand, and they're selling them like hot cakes. Gibson struggles to put a Floyd on anything. Baritones? Two models in the last 10 years? 24.75" scale seven-string? They keep reissuing guitars that weren't successful the first time around in some effort to see whether they missed something the first time. ES-335-S? L6S? MIII? Nighthawk? And in every single case, they downgrade the reissue from the original. The things that made the originals interesting, or that MIGHT have made the original interesting, they leave out.
#23
Quote by dspellman
Gibson is as mass produced as any other guitar. Fit and finish of ALL guitars (not just Gibson) is done by hand, and the process is virtually identical when done by any manufacturer. Here in Southern California, you can trundle down to the San Diego area and watch Taylors and Carvins come together. Come a bit north and you can probably visit Suhr. Fender, of course, has assembly plants in SoCal and tiny Trussart is in LA proper. If you visit Korean or Chinese facilities (such as the Epiphone plant in Qindao), you'll see exactly the same processes. The people who build guitars are largely not "luthiers," but folks performing the same specific production-line tasks over and over again. Gibson cranks out 650-800 guitars a day at full chat. There's no more hand-fondling going on at the Gibson plant than anywhere else. And the only reason that a specific guitar might take more than a month or two is to allow the antiquated nitrocellulose finish to adequately set up.

Gibson trades heavily on its history and rock legacy. Their best customer is the Baby Boomer who grew up with a screaming guitar sound track that was shared with virtually every other member of his generation in the US. Their best-selling guitar is the Les Paul, but the Les Paul was discontinued once and nearly discontinued again until re-popularized in the mid-80's by Guns 'N" Roses guitar player Slash. Gibson itself came very close to going belly up around the same time period; it had been challenged by (and had, essentially, lost to) the increasingly higher quality levels of Japanese-built guitars. In the end, Gibson righted itself not by building higher quality guitars, but by latching on to the halo effect of rock stars who used the guitars and by promoting to the Baby Boomer generation. Even folks who buy the cheap Gibsons these days buy largely so that the have the legendary Logo and headstock and look of the guitars they've become familiar with all their lives.

Schecter is a brand manufactured by one of a number of Korean (in particular) and Asian (in general, including Chinese and Indonesian) factories producing both beginner and professional-quality guitars. Schecter is merely a brand name; a company that buys guitars from overseas and resells them under its own name. Schecter itself does not build guitars. It does open them and set them up at a facility in Burbank, from which it ships to stateside stores including Guitar Center.

In terms of marketing -- Gibson realizes that the Boomer generation as an anchor point has a limited and declining time horizon. The issue for Gibson is that it has pushed its price point ever higher while not providing corresponding quality or features. It has literally painted itself into a corner with its "traditional" marketing and materials emphasis. It has no new products to offer; there are no new guitar designs in the pipeline. It has no technology worth emphasizing. It has no traction among new guitar players and no brand loyalty among younger players; no entry level.

The challenges for both Schecter and Gibson are similar in one respect. The dawn of the iPod has fragmented music. No longer does everyone tune in the same radio station or watch MTV. There is no common sound track among young people. Everyone has his own mix. There are no guitar bands among the Top 10 Billboard artists; the category is dominated by one-name girl singers and a very few random hip-hop artists. The much smaller country market is mostly hitched to classic rock-ish music.

Schecter has latched onto "metal" bands as its point of entry, but there's no metal genre; just a bunch of splintered genre groups who rely on heavily distorted sounds and sinister vocals. Metal is an easy first-guitar music for first-guitar players. Schecter's market is just a bit higher than entry level and a bit lower than $1000 for the most part.

Both Schecter and Gibson have entry level guitars, but Schecter's entry level quality is much higher. Gibson has stripped virtually everything off their guitars but the logo and general body shape, and marketing works overtime to convince newbs that a completely stripped-down guitar with no hand work or finishing process is somehow serious rock and roll. The lack of quality finishing is equated with a lack of bling and touted as an advantage. The truth is that the guitars Gibson is hawking on the low end would have been ignored in the bargain bin at CostCo in years gone by, had they sported ANY other logo. Unfortunately, Gibson is NOT gaining traction in the entry level market; the cheapos are mostly going to older players who could never afford the Gibson logo before and who have told themselves that Only A Gibson Would Do.

All guitar companies face a downturn in sales in years to come unless there's some change in the music scene forthcoming. The biggest guitar distributor (Guitar Denter) is in serious financial hurt already. Endorsers of guitars (band members, etc.) are mostly relatively minor acts whose market influence is either tiny or limited to older musicians.

It should be an interesting market going forward.


Wow, thanks so much for the comprehensive reply.

Anybody else have detailed and informative replies like above? Any information and help would be appreciated.

Also I've been having trouble getting any sort of data or statistics on either company or their financials. Yes I know, both are private companies and thus are not required to release their financial statements. If any of you guys out there have more information to that regard please let me know! I'm very interested in using hard data instead of the usual marketing-talk nonsense to accentuate our thesis. Thanks!